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Fire department discussions always seem to head off in the same direction, as if the choices are limited to a full-time professional force or a bunch of incompetent auxiliaries.

In other places along Highways 16 and 97 the approach fits neither of those extremes. I have lived or worked in places where there was a small full-time force augmented by auxiliaries (as the title itself suggests) who serve part time. Auxiliaries are trained and accumulate experience just like full-timers. I don’t know where the idea comes from that they are untrained. When taking industrial first aid the auxiliary fire fighters were among the best in the course because it was just a refresher for them.

From my observation auxiliaries are not looked down on in other communities. That is a respected way to serve the community and they are appropriately appreciated. I recall seeing in local papers pictures of the auxiliaries and their names, acknowledging their service. They would also have fire department stickers on their pickups to identify themselves as first responders.

I owned a house in one town with a small professional force and auxiliaries. I do not recall my insurance being any higher than in Rupert where I have also owned a house. Nor do I recall anyone mentioning it as an issue or concern. No one seemed to think that by having auxiliary members as part of the fire department citizens should fear for their safety or otherwise lose sleep over the matter.

There seems to be a very different narrative in Prince Rupert, for reasons that are difficult to decipher.

Growing up overseas I lived in a town about the same size as Prince Rupert. Our fire station there was and still is staffed by one fire chief and an assistant. The rest of the fire fighters there are all axillary. However, the municipal government gives preference to those axillary fire fighters when hiring for any positions be it city administration, bylaw officers, maintenance staff etc. That way, it is ensured that the fire fighters are immediately available should there be an emergency and they aren’t taken away from other employment or are out of town. They are working for the city and in the city, just in two capacities.


Here we go again.

You’re free to have your opinion but if you look back at your past posts on this same subject you’ll see that you don’t have much support. The points you bring up surrounding auxiliary firemen have also been discussed previously and I believe it was determined that the fire department tried to start an auxiliary department but it didn’t work. Can we just move on?

Well to be fair to his efforts to start up the discussion on the topic.

Mayor Mussallem did suggest during the Mayoralty forum that there was some kind of move afoot to try and re-introduce the concept of a volunteer option, though he didn’t really provide much evidence of that concept.

Still, if the Mayor is to be understood correctly, clearly someone in the community was talking about it besides saltybear.[/quote]

If he was discussing the topic I’d agree with you. This member has a history of bitching and complaining but doesn’t really offer up anything constructive.

I believe that this is what you were referring to:

"As part of his opening remarks to Tuesday evening’s forum, the Mayor asked for the support of the voters in order to stop what he said was a move by some in the community to close down the City’s Fire Department, and according to the Mayor turn it into a volunteer based organization. A prospect that the Mayor was quite determined to advise the gathering that he was against.

To further expand on his concerns at any perceived threat to the city’s Fire Department, the Mayor reviewed the nature of the current industrial base in the region and to list off some of the proposed developments that may come our way, stressing for the audience the need for the City to retain trained, professional firefighters." … e.html?m=1

I don’t know why the issue was brought up by Jack. Maybe it’s something that has been discussed in his circles.

I can imagine that there may be tension for any working person required to train and work with individuals who threaten their livelihood. I’m not necessarily against auxiliary firemen but those that were part of it in the past must have been put into a difficult situation. Can you imagine someone coming into your workplace offering to do your job for little or no pay, and you having to show them how to do it, and with a smile on your face?

Even if the auxiliary firefighters weren’t well received by the regular firemen, the decisions around management and initiatives such as this lie with city hall and the fire chief.

Interesting concept. I understand your former town is the same size as this town, but
is it a major international port? Does it have an airport on an island with no fire department of it’s own for emergency landings or grain elevator, coal terminal or pellet plant? Not to mention future possible developments such as potash terminal or Lng complexes or possible new industries not even being discussed as yet? I’m not making a judgement on your concept just wondering if the towns are really that comparable? Anyone have any thoughts?

This keeps coming up, thanks to Saltyguy’s obsession.

The bottom line is that insurance is cheaper with ‘career’ firefighters, whether they are assisted by auxiliaries or not. Any less than 3 professionals on duty, and your rates will be higher.

That info is more than a couple of years old, but it’s still relevant. Doesn’t matter to Saltyguy, because he doesn’t care about the evidence. Apparently he would rather pay more in insurance than in taxes.

That was the case in the last thread too: Prince Rupert Fire Department

And here’s him complaining about the fire truck 4 years ago: Fire department in prince rupert (notice replies from actual firefighters)

So here’s how it goes:

  1. Saltybear freaks out about something fire department related.
  2. Someone digs up the info and proves him wrong.
  3. He says “it’s not true!” and waits a few more months before posting the same thing again.

I think we’re on round 5 now, Saltybear. So go ahead and post the “it’s not true!” post so we can move on.

[quote]Interesting concept. I understand your former town is the same size as this town, but
is it a major international port? [/quote]

And how far away is the next town with a large fire department that can assist if needed?

I also grew up overseas in a small town with a full-time chief and two assistants. They also drove the ambulance. And there were a lot of volunteers and auxiliaries. But 15 minutes away was a town with a full fire department, and 25 minutes away was a major city with an even larger department. And houses made of brick, not wood :smile:

So Mig where are you getting your info from? Sounds like you are a fireman and just because YOU say I am wrong,let anyone who thinks you are right,check it out for themselves!Like I did!You are full of it!
Check Terrace rates,also Smithers which is a volunteer dept.We are $800,000.00 higher fire dept cost than Terrace!You just re enforce the Prince Rupert union mentality.

So if members don’t agree with you then they’re full of it. Dial down the rhetoric please.
Thank you.

[quote=“saltybear”]So Mig where are you getting your info from? Sounds like you are a fireman and just because YOU say I am wrong,let anyone who thinks you are right,check it out for themselves!Like I did!You are full of it!
Check Terrace rates,also Smithers which is a volunteer dept.We are $800,000.00 higher fire dept cost than Terrace!You just re enforce the Prince Rupert union mentality.[/quote]

Quit your “effin” whining. You don’t like that Rupert has a full time fire department, too damn bad.

Saltybear you said the same thing last time. And the time before that. And the time before that too.

Here’s the info: Fire dept

Next time you bring it up, I’m sure you’ll say the same thing again.

Bottom line is that insurance rates are higher if you don’t have 3 professional firefighters on duty, whether they are assisted by auxiliaries and volunteers or not.

Hey Big international energy companies! Come to Prince Rupert and build your LNG terminals! We have a volunteer fire department! Or go to Kitimat, which has a professional fire department. Your choice!

I think saltybear disguised himself as several different people and approached Mussallem with his fire dept. concerns, thus making Jack think this was a big issue in Rupert, which explains his bizarre reference to it at the candidates forum. Well played, saltybear.

saltybear in a nutshell:

Yep. An old, angry white guy rehashing the same BS in yet another thread.

According to their web site the Fire Department once had 22 full-time and 17 auxiliaries. The latter were disbanded in 1985 for ‘budgetary reasons’ and today their are 20 career members. Since then Rupert has lost a lot of industry.

Considering that they are responsible for Port Edward and Port facilities, and that several major industries are being proposed, perhaps the issue of having auxiliaries needs to be revisited.

In Interior mill towns, auxiliaries are trained and paid; they’re effectively part-time employees but on-call rather than with scheduled hours (other than for training). Some of those towns have major industrial facilities including lumber mills, pulp mills, pellet plants, etc. ‘Volunteers’ perhaps creates some wrong impressions.

Job protection is always an issue, of course, especially when they are union jobs, but I don’t see where having part-timer auxiliaries is really such a ridiculous idea.

Does Rupert have the staffing and equipment that will be needed to meet future needs? And if the fire department has to be increased would recruiting auxiliaries be out of the question, or should the City only hire more full-timers? Perhaps this is one more area where there needs to be a ‘re-think’.

Port Ed has its own volunteer fire dept,as well,the pulp mill,when it was operating,had its own firemen.Check out the lower mainland where there are container docks,oil terminal and see that all of their fire depts have aux firemen!

I know what you’re talking about because I’ve worked in industry in other places. The ratios vary, but many fire departments have auxiliaries, including in the lower mainland.

I also worked at a plant that was big enough to have its’ own fire department; some tended the equipment and supervised training and the others were on call from their regular jobs or from home. The municipal fire department, many of them auxiliaries, were available if there was risk of a fire getting out of control.

If LNG comes to the Rupert area those companies, as part of their risk assessments, will have to consider what internal fire fighting resources are needed. That’s an example of a practical LNG-related issue that the City should be including in its’ due diligence. The Mayor and council should have the Fire Chiefs specifically look at those aspects of the LNG proposals when those details are available. There are more issues than Flora Banks.

What mostly concerns me about this thread is that auxiliary firefighters in other municipalities, large and small, are such valued members of the community, while some of the comments here come across as smug and dismissive. The biggest difference with auxiliaries is that (other than for training) they are on call and paid accordingly. Like the career firefighters, auxiliaries train and risk life and limb so that the rest of us can live in relative safety. They deserve our respect.

I’m not dismissive of auxiliaries (or volunteers). I lived in Terrace, and we had great service from auxiliaries. Twice they responded to calls I made – Those guys work their asses off. Even there, though, they still have 3 professionals on duty 24/7.

I’m dismissive of the idea that an all-volunteer department = lower insurance rates, though. Which is bullshit. In the rural places outside of Terrace that are covered by an all-volunteer department (or 1 chief and the rest volunteer), the insurance is very high. And yes, I know that from first hand experience as well.

We’ve gone through this same debate so many times, because saltybear keeps bringing it up.

“What? There’s a new firetruck? Why don’t we fire them all and have volunteers instead!”

“What? Someone retired and they’re hiring a replacement? Fire them all and have all volunteers instead!”

“What? You don’t agree? You’re out to lunch! You must be a union firefighter! I have a cousin who lives in a town with just volunteers and their insurance is very cheap!”

That kind of thing.

The Prince Rupert fire department is about as small as you can get and still have 3 members on duty 24/7. Maybe they even unofficially break that rule as well. So maybe do they could use some volunteers or auxiliaries. But there’s no way they’d be able to cut back on professionals and have the insurance rates stay the same.

Just an idea in terms of “re-thinking” but if/when LNG companies end up coming to Prince Rupert, would the city be able to suggest that the fire hazard that an export facility might create would render the company to pay a portion of the fire dept’s budget? Considering the money involved in exporting LNG you’d think it wouldn’t be a huge burden for a company to pay a percentage of a 1.4 million dollar budget.

Wait till we need a fire boat.